Center City’s Pure Fare has a unique thing going on: It’s a mecca of healthy food immersed in a city of cheesesteaks and crab fries. Owners (and twins) Kunal and Kriti Sehgal pride themselves on creating a fast-casual restaurant (with grab-and-go options, too), which focuses entirely on bringing customers local and preservative-free food.
The pair has created what they call a “lifestyle brand,” making healthy living more realistic than ever for Philadelphians. And they’ve done this through making healthy foods accessible, opening a food truck at 40th and Locust streets in West Philly and launching a soon-to-open second location at 1609 South Street at the end of the month.
They’ve also implemented first-of-its kind technology with their online food and fitness tracker called My Fare, which allows you to track what and when you eat, along with all of your food’s nutritional information with the simple swipe of your Pure Fare loyalty card. (To add non-Pure Fare grub, a two-minute sit down at the computer is all it takes.) It’s an easy and efficient link between the in-store and out-of-store experiences.
Here’s how it works: First, set up a profile on the PF website. You’ll put in your physical metrics (i.e. height, weight, age), and your body mass index (BMI) will be calculated. You’ll be given healthy lifestyle advice based on this number, and you can then add your exercise and healthy living goals; meet them, and you’re rewarded with coupons. You will then receive a PF loyalty card. Any time you purchase food through PF, your card is swiped and the nutritional data is automatically sent to your profile page, allowing you to see this information in context with your own health. The site also includes a database with over 100,000 foods and, according to the owners, foods from every major restaurant, allowing users to have a personal health dashboard to monitor total-body health.
“It’s not focused on counting calories but rather educating people that being healthy doesn’t mean you have to be on a diet to be healthy,” says Kunal.
Everything PF does focuses on health, quality and integrity. So instead of promoting a cleanse or a meal-supplement program, they advocate portion control, balance, moderation and, of course, eating fresh. With the exception of their bread, the owners and staff make every piece of food and drink that comes out of the store. From scratch. Daily.
This translates to the food they sell, as anything you buy at Pure Fare will have no white sugar, no white flour and no gluten. And for people like me who have a deathly sweet tooth, PF serves up sodas and frozen yogurt which fit their healthy criteria. They even have vegan frozen yogurt.
With the help of My Fare, which the duo plans to upgrade substantially over the coming months, Kunal and Kriti are striving to create a transparency with their customers by keeping them informed and rewarding customers for being loyal.
“There’s a need in Philadelphia for fast, casual spaces,” explains Kriti. “We wanted to create a brand that everyone could come to, whether you’re old or young. We get people from all over who bring different perspectives to the space and give us good advice. We’ve felt most people have seen this as a breath of fresh air and are really excited that people are focusing on the health movement.”
But, as we all know, being part of the health movement sometimes comes at a bereavement to the wallet. But Kriti says the food at PF is well in line with that of any other major brand. And put into context, it makes a bit more sense.
“If you go to Cosi, it’s $9 for a sandwich,” says Kriti. “If you go to Pure Fare it’s also a $9 sandwich but if we run out of romaine, we’re chopping it in front of you. It’s not coming out of a plastic bag that’s been sealed and sitting there for a couple days. Once people understand how the food is made, which is what My Fare does and Pure Fare is all about, they really undersand what they’re getting.”
Also, all PF’s food has a shelf life of 24 hours and once that one day is up, any leftovers go for half off the next day. Loyalty points are also given when using your PF card, which lead to coupons.
Through the process of building and expanding their brand, Kunal and Kriti have helped many people get their health back on track through eating clean, and the owners plan to continue building these organic connections with Philadelphians.
“We built this brand with trust and integrity, and people should trust that what we are saying is what we are selling,” says Kunal. “We say we’re sustainable and as we grow and build the business, that’ll continue to be the case.”
Pure Fare, 119 South 21st Street, Philadelphia, 267-318-7441.